Sunday, October 12, 2008

Voyage à New York

A piece about my hometown by the Frugal Traveler in today's New York Times contains the fortuitous observation that "New York offers . . . the earnest expectation that one day, out of the blue, your real, true life will finally begin."

As Frank O'Hara wrote in his 1951 poem "Song":

I'm going to New York!
(what a lark! what a song!)
where the tough Rocky's eaves
hit the sea. Where th'Acro-
polis is functional, the trains
that run and shout! the books
that have trousers and sleeves!

I'm going to New York!
(quel voyage! jamais plus!)
far from Ypsilanti and Flint!
where Goodman rules the Empire
and the sunlight's eschato-
logy upon the wizard's bridges
and the galleries of print!

I'm going to New York!
(to my friends! mes semblables!)
I suppose I'll walk back West.
But for now I'm gone forever!
the city's hung with flashlights!
the Ferry's unbuttoning its vest!

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